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Asteroid modeling - fairly basic question


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I am building an asteroid - a totally irregular shape - in VW for my own amusement. I have successfully hollowed out the interior of my asteroid in the way I want, but the exterior is clunky. I made it from 3 intersecting extrudes, which isn't really satisfactory. How do I do a more construct? I am happy to draw a series of contour lines to build it from, but can't get them to join up. Or are there tutorials out there the you can refer me to?


Edited by TessF
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Thanks guys!That has been very helpful! 


Kevin, I agree with you completely. Trying to model the finer textures would be frustrating to say the least. But I needed to know how to build the broad structure first, and don't really need the fine texture. I think I have managed more or less what I want for my purposes - which is an image of an idea of a hollowed-out asteroid as a space station for a story I am writing. So while I had a fairly clear idea of what shape asteroid I wanted to build, I am not terribly concerned about making the surface look good right now. I mainly wanted to have a clear image to write about, to allow me to calculate occupancy, describe areas (she found his residence in the sharp end, 3rd level kinda thing). If someone were to option the story for a movie (ha ha - I can dream...)  -  I think I would leave the final modelling to the experienced people. But thank you so much for your help, I learned a lot from this exercise, and might even be able to use the new skills at work, which is as a draftsperson for a perfectly ordinary landscape architectural company located here on earth. 


Here is the result of my efforts. Now to see how carving out the interior works....

Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 10.30.03 PM.png

Edited by TessF
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One more question - if I make this object the size I want it to be - which is 45 km long, the subdivision tools stop working. I worked around this by making an asteroid 4.5 m long the scaling by 1000, but it's not ideal. Any idea why this should be?


Thanks again,



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It really is best practice in Vectorworks to draw in scale not in 1:1 for large objects.


In terms of the hollowing out. You can convert the Subdivision object to a generic solid, duplicate and scale down the solid and then Model>Subtract to give you 'walls.' However when you do that conversion you can no longer model the object.


I'm thinking there is also a way to do this and keep the object as a subdivision, although that's more difficult and would require some thought. Using the ethos above, the walls would be very regular, keeping it as a subdivision, would allow for irregular modeling.

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herbieherb - thanks, I have converted the document preferences to km. The controls still don't work once it is scaled up unfortunately.


Kevin, I have been working at a scale of 1:10000 throughout. I have copied the subdivision tried converting to generic solids. It warns me about such a solid not being editable, to which I say ok, but then it remains a subdivision. I tried converting it via other forms, the only one that seems to remain convertible to generic solid is the mesh. It converted one quarter of the asteroid to a jagged eggshell structure, and the rest of it disappears. Kinda fun finding these idiosyncrasies, but not getting me where I want to be 😂


Alan, that might work. I have used the hollowness to help me shape it - a handy quality in virtual space 😊 




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I haven't used multiple extrudes - I get to use 3D very little in the course of my work, so I am still a neophyte at it. I will have to look that up - thanks for the idea! I have had great fun learning about subdivisions, but they don't let me cut out the living quarters as easily.

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hmmm, I can't seem to convert to Generic Solid either using v2020. I can convert to a mesh, but that should only provide a shell. Looking at the 'floors' above, I would think that getting the solid from the subdivision would be the first step. Then modeling the outside of the walls and floors as an overall 3D object using simple extrudes and Add Solids would give you something to Subtract from the generic Solid and then the interior detailing could be modeled. I would doo all of this on different design layers to keep everything lined up and to meep the individual objects easier to see as you work.


That said, the failure of the convert to generic solid seems to be a bug.


I don't think either NURBS or using Multiple extrudes will give you what you want. That said, perhaps, and maybe w=using a simply exterment, model the interior hollow, then subtract that from the 'cardboard' overall shape (having assembled that using add solids to make one object), then Co avert the result to a subdivision and while not touching the interior, work on the exterior surface?


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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@TessF Hi,




Pl. find attached file, here the subd model is hollowed and kept as subD.

SubD model can be hollowed

-> by deleting the cage faces (Transform mode -> select faces to delete -> press "delete" key)


->  by simply using the "face hole" mode to introduce the hollow, easily re-fill by using the same mode.


Here the model is scaled down to 0.001 to ensure highlight and picking should work.  Pl. file a bug for not able to highlight and picking for larger model (45km long).



Senthil Prabu

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Thanks all, I'm afraid I ran out of time on this and am unlikely to be able to return to it for a while. Perhaps I should find someone to model it for me if I ever want to actually get a final model in virtual space to play with. Anyone keen? 😉 


This is a very basic version - the final version would have spiral roads winding down the outside walls and around the pillars. This means the outer walls slope outwards from the base, leaving a minimum of 1km of outer shell. The pillars taper from I guess about 4km wide at the base to about 2km wide at the top. Also there are supposed to be all sorts of tunnels through the walls and deck-separating slabs for trains, and elevators run up and down the pillars from the base up to the base of the pillar, next floor up. Then there are the living quarters.... and the top deck open space is landscapes with hills etc, and planted, with animals from various planets roaming it, and .... you get the idea? 😂 I was just trying to start it off for a fun exercise, so that I could visualise it more clearly for my writing. Working through with your help this has helped a lot already.


I very much appreciate everyone chipping in to help though. Let me know if anyone feels inclined to play further with the idea.

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